June 19, 2010

The Professional Male Nurse

Posted in Nursing Career tagged , , , , at 3:51 am by Nursing Tales Team

Nursing is a great profession for both men and women.  With the immense opportunities for growth and great flexibility of hours, there is something for everyone in nursing.

For the male nurse, attire is pretty much the same as everyone else in the hospital…scrubs.  However, men have different body types than women and still want to look polished and professional on the job.  To look great and feel great even when you wear scrubs every day, there are certain steps you can take.

If you work in an environment where your scrubs are mandated to be a specific style and color, perhaps you can wear a long sleeved fitted t-shirt underneath your uniform.  The contrast in color livens up your attire and the form fit shows off your arms.  No one said you can’t look sexy in scrubs!

When you have more leeway in terms of dress, your fashion options are wide open.  Sports fans can find scrubs that show off their loyalty to the team.  These types of scrubs range from a simple logo on the chest to all over decals.  Perhaps in this case less is more, no?

To maintain a totally professional yet totally hot vibe, check out the raglan scrub top.  This two tone style can be worn over solid pants.  The raglan scrub top features longer sleeves, slightly above the elbow.  However, it would still look incredible with the long sleeved t-shirt underneath.

For pants, there’s always the basic drawstring scrub pant in a variety of colors.  But now there are also pants in the cargo style that are flattering to the male physique.  If you really want to change up your scrub style, try the 7 pocket scrub pant by Landau on for size.  These pants feature a great fit and can be worn with a belt.

Part of the nurse uniform is the good old ID badge.  Female nurses are now dressing their badges up with beaded lanyards and badge reels.  You can do this too.  Not with beads, of course; but lanyards come in masculine leather and badge holders and reels can be found to feature metal and leather as well.

The way you feel at work plays a part in how you interact with others.  It’s just a part of how we are made up.  So do what you must to find the right scrubs for your body type, or dress up the scrubs you can wear with a t-shirt or leather lanyard and feel better as soon as your next shift.

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Tips To Soothe Dry Hands

Posted in Nurses, Nursing Career tagged , , , , at 3:47 am by Nursing Tales Team

Hand washing is a regular part of a nurse’s day on the job. Between the washing and sanitizing treatments, your hands can become chapped and cracked. Before you know it, your days of having smooth delicate hands are long forgotten and you fear you will never see them again.

Don’t despair over dry hands. There are plenty of treatment options to help you get back the smooth skin and maintain it for the long haul. All it takes is dedication and the right routine. You created the routine of regular washing (which landed you in this predicament), and you can just as easily add some steps into that new routine to make your hands healthy and attractive.

Obviously, smooth hands are made with moisture. With soaps and sanitizers stealing necessary moisture from your skin, you have to find ways to put it back. Lightweight lotions aren’t sufficient to give you the treatment that you need. What you need to really restore moisture is a nice thick lotion – one that stays in place even if you turn your hand over. Try out Eucerine Plus, Bag Balm, Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, or Aquaphor Healing Ointment. Before starting a new routine, check with infection control to make sure that the lotion you choose will not pose a risk to the gloves that you wear or the patients you may be treating.

When washing your hands, it is important to try and avoid soaps that contain alcohol. If possible, use a gentler soap like Dove or Cetaphil at work and at home. You can carry your own soaps and lotions in travel sized containers in your pockets. Also, use cold or warm water to wash your hands instead of hot water. Hot water will also steal moisture from your skin. Pair with harsh soaps and you have a recipe for disaster. Keep it healthy by using the right soaps and the right temperature of water.

Create healthy hand habits at home as well as work. Damaged skin doesn’t only occur at work. Cold winter air is also quite dry; so in winter months, wear gloves or mittens to protect your hands from dry air. Also be sure to keep up your moisturizing routine in full force when you are at home. Carry lotion with you in your car or purse so when hands feel dry, you can react quickly and keep dryness at bay.

Through consistent effort, your hands should regain their moisture and elasticity fairly quickly. When you notice dryness going away, don’t slack off with your moisturizing routine. Keep up with regular washing and moisturizing; and protect hands from the elements. Should you go through all of these tips and find that your hands do not respond or get worse, see a dermatologist.

It’s best to take these measures quickly and consistently so you don’t have to fight an uphill battle. Your hands are a big part of your job. You want to show off hands that you are proud of and you also want to be comfortable as you go through your days.

Cracked hands can end up being harmful to patients if bacteria is present. So don’t procrastinate taking care of the dry skin problem.

The Realities of Dating a Co-worker

Posted in Nurses tagged , , , , at 3:41 am by Nursing Tales Team

Watch Grey’s Anatomy and you’ll think that dating different doctors and nurses where you work is the thing to do.  However, life at work can be made quite difficult when you do date new Hottie from the Cath Lab.  To maintain your reputation at work doesn’t mean that you have to steer clear of dating someone close to you.  Things happen, and should you experience a mutual attraction with a co-worker, you may want to explore those feelings to see where they go.  Who knows, you may be the one to get the happily ever after.  But make sure the facility you are working for doesn’t have rules against co-workers dating.

You cannot assume that your nursing team will be happy for you should you engage in a relationship with another co-worker.  So before you jump in with both feet, you need to determine just how to proceed.  Of course you are not at work to build relationships; you are there to help your patients and fulfill your career goals.  However, part of your success and job satisfaction is determined by your work relationships.  If you do feel that you want to apursue that spark that you share with that cute co-worker, here are some tips to help it go smoothly.

•    It seems obvious to assume you would not play bad nurse and hook up in empty storage rooms.  This is not Hollywood, it is your place of employment.  However, it cannot be overstated that you should refrain from any PDA (public display of affection) at work.  This goes for passing in the halls to having lunch in the courtyard.  When you are anywhere near your work facilities, maintaining a professional demeanor is your best plan of action.  Your relationship is private; for your enjoyment.  Keeping the details and the PDA for time away from the job can actually fan the flames even more!

•    Maintaining relationships with your friends at work is a must.  Your nursing team needs to operate as a cohesive unit; and if you suddenly disappear because you playing fast and loose up with Dr. Steamy Dream, it is likely that they will not take kindly to your absence.  Be sure to continue those lunches with the team, or the Friday night happy hour routine you have set up.  Whatever your routine has been, work your new romantic relationship around that and your co-workers will be all the more supportive when they do discover your romantic involvement.

•    Keep your career on track.  Let’s say you begin to date a doctor; maybe your childhood dream was to marry a doctor; you still have your own career to think about.  Don’t stop training or start slacking off on the job.  Should your romantic involvement reach heights in which you commit your lives forever, good for you.  But until then, it’s best to stick with your own personal goals that you had set so that you don’t wind up with regret.

Dating another nurse, a doctor, or anyone else in your facility does not exactly equal disaster.  That is not a given.  But it is also not a guarantee that you will ride off into the sunset either.  As with any time two co-workers date; decorum is of the utmost importance.

Eating for Energy

Posted in Nursing Career, Nursing Tips tagged , , , , , , at 3:35 am by Nursing Tales Team

As a nurse, it is imperative that you are on your game at all times.  You are not allowed to crash and burn halfway through your shift when you have patients counting on you.  Oh no, even if you are set up with a 12 hour shift (or especially so), you must keep your energy flowing evenly in order to perform at your best.

Eating healthy is not difficult, even when you are eating out or find yourself snacking from the vending machine.  An occasional treat is fun and you are very deserving of a treat now and then.  Obtain your daily sustenance from the cafeteria, the vending machine, or the nearest McDonald’s, however, is not the way to set yourself up for ongoing energy and a healthy body.

As a nurse, it is in some ways expected of you to be the face of health.  Think about it.  You are the one treating patients who have fallen into poor health.  If you are the one with the answers, you should look the part.  That means that your immune system needs to be up and your energy needs to shine through your eyes.  What you consume will either make or break you when it comes to maintaining health and energy throughout your days as a nurse.  Here are some tips to help you make it through.

•    Eat fresh.  Some of the best things you can take to work every day are apples and nuts.  For your mid-shift snack, eat a few nuts, an apple and some cheese and you’re good to go for another few hours.  Fresh foods keep you going because they do not contain all the additives and preservatives of packaged foods.  They are primed and ready to give you a sugar lift without overdoing it.  You want your blood sugar regulated throughout the day, and fresh fruits and vegetables are the way to achieve this.
•    Eat at the right times.  This can take some getting used to; but in order to maintain health and vitality on the job, you should eat every four hours.  When you are more active, you eat more frequently, like every three hours; but on the job you can pretty much get what you need with meals spaced 4 hours apart.  The thing is, you should eat enough to feel full but not stuffed; and what you eat should keep you going until the next meal.  If you are hungry before 4 hours, you will need to start consuming more at each meal.  It can take some finesse; but you will find the amounts to eat to maintain your energy and create a healthier you.
•    Eat, don’t drink, your calories.  Sugary drinks like your favorite caramel macchiato have more calories than is necessary, and so much sugar that you are bound to feel great for awhile and then crash before your shift is over.  Water is your best friend when it comes to hydrating.  Sticking with water, tea or coffee (coffee drinks not included!) can help you perk up when you do need that caffeine; but won’t dump a bunch of sugar into your system.

How you Cope As a Nurse Determines How Long you Last

Posted in Nursing Career tagged , , , , at 3:32 am by Nursing Tales Team

As a nurse, your job is not fun and games.  Sometimes you will deal with difficult situations that don’t go your way.  Sometimes you will deal with out and out tragedy in the lives of your patience.  Here’s the truth:  a nurse who is personally emotionally attached to the outcome of the patient is the nurse who will be looking for another line of work in a few years.

If you love your job and want to stick with it for the long haul, then you must…I repeat, MUST, find ways to cope with the inevitable setbacks that will come to your patients at some point in time.

Does this mean that you learn to not care?  Of course not, caring is one of your highest job responsibilities!  You must care about your patients and show compassion for them.  Again, if you stop caring, you may as well go and look for another job right now.

To deal with this type of stress, what a nurse must learn to do is detach from the outcome of the patient.  This allows you to care and become as emotionally involved with the patient as necessary; while remembering that having given your best nursing skills you have very little control over how the patient comes out on the other side of their illness or injury.  When you realize that you have no control, you can understand that the outcome has nothing to do with you.  This understanding can help you maintain your level of care; while not breaking down should you not get the outcome you expect.  The patient and their family will rely on you for strength and support.  You are in the unique situation of both grieving with and supporting this family; and you can do it with grace when you remove your expectations for a happy ending.

Stress for a nurse can come from a wide array of factors.  Understaffing, contract negotiations, role ambiguity and exposure to infected patients are all aspects of the job that concern nurses.  These are the big issues; but stress can also be caused by everyday occurrences such as shift work.  Nurses who work the night shift may find a struggle with the way their body reacts to being up all night. Even when you get adequate sleep during the day, your body is made to sleep during the nocturnal hours and may reject day sleeping for awhile.

To last a long time in your nursing profession, it is important that you learn more about yourself.  There are ample suggestions on every website and in magazines to help you manage stress; but you are the person who knows your mind and body the best.  So it is up to you to try out available resources.  See how it feels to create a ritual of soaking in the tub after a long shift, or getting a weekly pedicure to relieve tired feet.

The thoughts that you think bring about the feelings that you experience.  In order to feel better at work and in life, you’ve got to think thoughts that make you feel better.  This comes through relaxation, meditation and prayer.  Find what works for you and stick with it.

Scrubs and Your Body Type

Posted in Nurse Fashion tagged , , , , at 3:25 am by Nursing Tales Team

When you dress for work, you want to not only look professional but you want to feel good about yourself.  You may think that because you wear scrubs to work, you are in a cookie cutter uniform and they have to look the way they look.  Well, it’s not that simple.  This is actually a good thing; because even those androgynous unisex scrubs can flatter your body (or not) depending on the cut and the fit.

To determine which style of scrubs will make you look your very best, you first have to understand your body type.  To do this, you must be willing to objectively observe your body…naked.  You may already know the type that you fall into.  That’s great.  For those who don’t, consider the following:

•    Are you thin and long through the torso; more athletically built?
•    Is your chest/bust large and your shoulders broad?
•    Are you shoulder narrow and hips wider?
•    Are your shoulders and hips both wider and your waist more narrow?

When you consider your body, do not take it as an opportunity to beat yourself up mentally.  Most of us could use a few more sit ups.  Just accept your body at this point and move on to finding the scrubs you need for work.

If you have an athletic built, with a narrow and slim torso, prints can be quite flattering on you.  Layering is also a great way to compliment your figure.   To bring the modern flair to your uniform, wear a short-sleeve jacket over a long-sleeve tee with fitted arms.  When it comes to pants, find some with a flared leg.

For the larger chested physique, you want to make sure your tops fit properly.  Tight tops will make you look heavier, not sexier.  Besides, at work you want everything to stay in place. However, don’t run to the other extreme and a top that is baggy.  You are not trying to hide your bust or accentuate it; you are trying to fit it.  For this body type, the most flattering fit comes from a V-neck, mock-wrap scrub top.  Solid colored tops are best, as are fitted pants (not tight).

If you have narrow shoulders with more weight or wider hips and thighs, a printed top will even out your proportions nicely.  Necklines such as scoop-neck or boat-neck are very flattering, especially if you layer them with a printed hip-length jacket.  It is most flattering to pair these patterned tops with solid pants.

For the hourglass figure, with wider shoulders and hips, flared pants or straight legged pants are the right fit.  Pair these with either scoop neck or V-neck tees.  If you wear a jacket, find a design or style that is cinched a bit at the waist.

Just because you wear scrubs to work doesn’t mean that you can’t look your very best.  Dressing for your body type is the best way to feel great and look professional at work.

Fashion Trends and the Medical Field

Posted in Nurse Fashion tagged , , , , at 3:18 am by Nursing Tales Team

Not long ago, the halls of  hospitals were filled with medical staff wearing white.  White pants or skirts, white shirts and even white hats (depending on how far back you want to look).  The fashion of medicine was formal to say the least.  Doctors may not have worn white, they may have walked onto the scene dressed in their business suit; while the nurse stood by in her white coat, dress and shoes.

When you think of the health care profession, you probably don’t associate fashion with.  You are at work to perform specific duties; to touch lives and help your patient’s deal with their medical issues.  But fashion has indeed evolved in this field over the years, and thankfully so; now you get to wear your Elmo or Stars and Stripes scrubs instead of a button down, knee length dress to work!

The easing of fashion ties began first in pediatric wards of hospitals, where pastel colored uniforms took the place of traditional white uniforms.  While it didn’t happen over night, the pastel uniform slowly became accepted in other parts of the medical field as well.

Scrubs were seen first and foremost in the operating room because of the need for a sterile environment.  Rarely did you see them anywhere else.  But as with all trends, the scrub revolution was on and crept into all areas of the medical field.  I mean, how could it not when scrubs are so incredibly comfortable and versatile?

Now that scrubs are the new uniform, this too has evolved into a huge fashion trend.  The first scrubs were that traditional green-blue color worn in the O.R.; but now they come in all colors and patterns to fit the personal style of any nurse or doctor.  Scrubs are also now available with anti-microbial properties that help guard against infection of patient or health care worker. The anti-microbial action lasts through hundreds of washings.

It used to be thought that the white coat and strict uniform attire was more professional and created a mental barrier between staff and patients.  This could be true,  but is that space really necessary, or is it best to create a comfortable environment where the patient feels both confident in your abilities and relaxed by your informal presence?

I guess the bottom line is that what works works.  In scrubs, you are comfortable and have the ability to move freely about your day.  Walking around in medical Crocs or comfortable tennis shoes could actually be making you better at your job in the long run, so go with the flow.

The Big Wide World of Nursing

Posted in Nursing Career tagged , , , , at 3:09 am by Nursing Tales Team

Nursing is a field that has evolved over the years.  Instead of morphing from one single entity into another completely different type; nursing has actually expanded and reached out into parts of the field that some are still completely unaware of.  Some nurses kinow before they even enter nursing school which direction they want to go in.  Some change their minds within a few days of being in that role they coveted so much.  Some nurses go with the flow and change their roles several times throughout their career.  This is one of the joys of this occupation – the ability to stretch yourself and gain knowledge and experience along the way.  Here, we will delve into some of the nurse specialties that are out there.

The Nurse-midwife

The nurse-midwife is an advanced practice nurse who has received  additional training around delivering babies and providing prenatal and postpartum care.  During labor and delivery (which can be at the patient’s home or in a hospital or birthing center), the nurse-midwife sometimes never leaves the mother’s side.

This type of a nurse knows how to read the signs and symptoms that lean away from what is normal for childbirth and will consult with a physician during the delivery process.

In addition to labor and delivery, a nurse-midwife also provides family planning counseling to include birth control options and normal gynecological services.  She will perform breast exams, pap smears and other preventative health screenings and sometimes prescribe medications (depending on the state).

The nurse midwife earns a salary range of approximately $80,000 and $100,000 annually.
Forensic Nursing

According to TheForensicNurse.com, the “Forensic nurse is a nurse with specialized training in forensic evidence collection, criminal procedures, legal testimony expertise, and more. The Forensic nurse becomes that liason between the medical profession and that of the criminal justice system. When you combine the medical training of a nurse, with the investigative prowess of police detectives and the legal training of a lawyer, you have created a formidable enemy for criminals.”

This term was actually coined back in 1992 and recognized by the American Association of Nurses in 1996; but it is a field many have not considered or even heard of.  In this field of nursing, there are branches such as Sexual Assault Nursing, expert medical witness, Nurse death investigator or Medicolegal death investigation (which was used after Katrina when identification was possible only through forensics).  This is just the beginning of what is possible in this budding nursing field.

The salary for a forensic nurse varies widely (reportedly from $26 to $100 per hour) based on experience and location.  Depending on the part of the country where you practice and on your level of experience, you can negotiate better terms.

The Legal Nurse Consultant

For the nurse who wants a change of pace away from actual patient care, this field is wide open with possibility.  Legal nurse consultants fill the gap between medicine and the judicial system.  This nurse analyzes medically-related issues relevant to a legal case and provides informed opinions on the delivery of health care and its results.  For the judicial system, legal nurse consultants provide a valuable service that saves the system thousands of dollars.  It is through the nurse’s expertise and understanding of the nuances of the health care system that medical issues in a legal case can be effectively interpreted.

The Legal Nurse consultant may work for independent consulting practices, or law firms; in government offices, insurance companies, hospital risk management departments or in forensic environments.  This nursing field earns the specialized RN a salary of approximately $125 per hour.

ID Badge Solutions

Posted in Nursing Career, Nursing Tips tagged , , , , at 3:04 am by Nursing Tales Team

Most nurses have a standard wardrobe that consists of scrubs and an ID badge.  Wearing an ID badge at work is not reserved specifically for medical personnel; but it is a standard part of the uniform in pretty much any job in medicine.  To make the most of the tools you have available, check out these solutions for ID badges to see if any make your life more convenient and your outfit more fashionable.

Some ID badges are actually digital cards; and as such they require more protection than a simple picture ID badge.  This is when a proximity card holder comes in handy.  These are designed specifically to protect these digital proximity cards.  This type of holder locks the card into place when you use it with a clip or a lanyard.  They can be found in either horizontal or vertical orientation.  Wear this with a beaded or decorative lanyard and perk up your scrubs!

Sometimes as a nurse you are a student again.  Ongoing training leads you to conferences where you expand your knowledge.  In this setting, you wear a different kind of ID badge and are typically given a clear plastic ID badge holder for the occasion.  If you don’t like the idea of pinning on your conference pass, bring your decorative lanyard from home, or a decorative clip that looks more like jewelry, and use that to hold your conference ID in place.  This way you look very professional while working off site.

When you wear an ID badge that seconds as a key or must be shown frequently, your badge is much used and you need to keep it close and secured.  In such instances, the badge reel is a tool that you will love.  This holder is easily attached to your standard badge holder, and allows you to extend your ID, scan it or show it as needed, and then simply retract it back to its starting position.  As with most  items for medical professionals, badge reels can also be found in decorative styles so you can show off your fashion sense and create your own unique look even in scrubs.

The ID badge is a mainstay for every nurse.  Losing it can cause a whole slew of problems and that is why it’s vitally important that you find an ID badge solution that works for you.  You want to keep your identity safe and do not want to create an inconvenient or costly situation by having to replace your badge.  There are enough stresses that go along with the nursing profession; make your uniform work for you by adequately securing your ID badge.

The Rewards of a Career in Nursing

Posted in Nursing Career tagged , , , , at 2:41 am by Nursing Tales Team

Set foot onto any ward of a hospital; into any private practice exam room; or into any clinic and you will quickly find that nursing can be a demanding job without many thank you’s.  The job takes and takes…it takes your time, your energy, and sometimes it takes a toll on your spirit.  However….that being said, there are plenty of rewards that seasoned nurses will tell you about.  Here are a few of the top rewards nurses report coming home with.

1.    The human connection.   Not only do nurses feel the connection with their patients; they also have a kind of camaraderie with one another that spans the entire globe.  Once you become a nurse, you have joined a unique group of men and women who give of themselves in a way that touches the lives of many.  In no other profession can you become intimately involved with your “clients” as you do in nursing.  It is also one of the few professions where you can help change a life so significantly.

2.    Job security is necessary in today’s society; and nursing still offers that much sought after aspect of employment.  In fact, the more flexible you are as a nurse, the more in demand you become.  Some nurses travel; while others focus on one specific area throughout their entire nursing career.  Whatever you choose to do as a nurse, you are pretty much assured that a job will be there for you at any given time.

3.    Flexibility is a huge reward of nursing.  Not only can you choose the type of nurse you want to be and what medical setting you want to work in; you can also have control over when and where you work in terms of location.  Travel nurses are finding ways to explore the country and the world while expanding their knowledge and experience at the same time.  This type of flexibility is not found in many jobs. As a nurse, you can take advantage of your special skills with children, or with     the elderly. You can choose to become a nurse educator or even an entrepreneur instead of limiting yourself to one office and one building for your entire career.

4.    Respect.  Back in the early days of flight, airlines hired nurses to work as stewardesses because their presence made people more confident to fly.  Today, people look at nurses with awe and respect; looking at them as merciful and graceful human beings with a giving spirit.

5.    Personal growth is unavoidable in nursing.  While the growing process can sometimes be stressful; the end result is that you come out a more capable, more thoughtful, more confident person!

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